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The Air Up There

20 Jun 2017 | Photo Stories, | by Volte Wetsuits

We’ve introduced you to a few of our Ambassadors here on Discover, and today is another instalment. Dave Delroy-Carr is a West Australian surfer who spends more time above the surf than immersed in it. As a member of the Westpac Helicopter Rescue Service, his average day could include a rescue operation, reporting a shark sighting or simply enjoying the best possible views of the WA coastline. He recently took to the skies for non-work purposes, flying almost the length of the western coast to chase a swell with the Corsaire Aviation team. We chatted to Dave about the recent run of swell in his home state, the trip north and what he does for a living. 

Photos by Jamie Scott and Chris Gurney. 

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Volte: Hey Dave, looks like a great run of swell you’re enjoying. There’s a shot of you from The Box, is that from prior to the plane trip or after? 

Dave Delroy-Carr: The session at The Box was a couple days before we flew up north. I surfed out there then had a session at North Point then we made the call to head up.

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How did that trip come about, was it last minute or did you guys see the swell from a long way out?

Yeah we saw the swell coming and everyone was free for a few days. So really it was just the combination of everyone being available and a pretty promising swell popping up by chance.

It’s been a pretty decent winter so far, any standout sessions for you? 

This winter’s been amazing, especially compared to last winter. There’s been a lot of offshore winds and good days of swell. The highlight for me is how many North Point swells we’ve had already. You might only get a couple of good sessions there on certain years but we’ve had four or five and winter’s only just begun.

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How was the trip up north in the plane? Had you done it before?  

It was sick. I’d never done it before but a few of my mates have so it was definitely something I had on the hit list to do. I’d do it again anytime!

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There’s some cool lineups that Jamie Scott shot while you guys are in the air, did you do a few fly-bys to check the surf?

 Yeah the opportunities you have to do that kind of stuff with the plane are amazing. You can just do laps of the spot you want to check and see how it’s looking. (Corsaire Aviation pilot) Luke Wyllie has been doing those trips for a long time so he’s got heaps of experience and makes it go smoothly. There’s a car waiting on the airstrip so you touch down, unpack and drive out to wherever looked best from the plane basically!

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Would it be fair to say you’re used to being in the air considering your job? What exactly do you do? 

I work in the Westpac Rescue Helicopter from September to May so that can involve anything from coastal patrols to search and rescue. We’re on call with water police 10 hours a day so we usually spend two hours up in the air on patrol then the other eight hours on call for search and rescue.

So yeah, I’m up in the air a lot, keeping an eye on all the sandbanks (laughs). I’m actually sitting at the airport now doing a meteorology course. It’s definitely my biggest interest outside of surfing.

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What suit were you wearing up there and how warm was the water/weather etc? 

I took a 3/2mm Super Premium steamer and also a 2/2mm Premium Short Arm. I mistakenly grabbed the steamer for the first session and I was sweating the whole time it was that warm! After that I used the short arm steamer for the rest of the time which went great.